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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Glasgow
    Posts
    405

    Default Going up the mast (solo) and what to expect at the top...

    I recently bought a new-to-me boat, a Halmatic 30, and I'm generally very pleased with her. However, as is the way with older boats, I have a snagging list of daft wee jobs needing attended to.

    One of those jobs was that the steaming light wasn't working, and having already buzzed out the circuit at the cable join at the bottom of the mast, and found high resistance, I felt sure I would be looking at a wiring / corrosion issue somewhere. So, up the mast to the light just below the spreaders.

    I should at this stage point out that I have never had a great head for heights; truth be told, it's more the falling down and going splat that worries me, but also, being a tight Scotsman, I didn't want to pay someone else to do it. So my method of getting up was 2 blocks and a long length of rope, a 2 step wooden rope ladder repurposed into a makeshift bosun's chair, and a looped line with a prussik knot on to the lifting line. So far so good...

    I found it slightly hard going initially, but realised I had made the loop with the prussik knot a bit too long, and to make it tight was slightly above my reach, but anyway I made it up to the spreaders without any drama and opened up the lamp unit to find, as expected, green corrosion on the bulb contact terminals. I cleaned these up and all was well once more.

    While up there I thought I may as well inspect the rig (becoming more confident at the height), and finally lowered myself down, pleased with my escapade and the lack of any death, especially in view of the need to attend a wedding later that day! However I noticed another issue that had been bothering me whilst out sailing.

    The Genoa was unwilling to both roll out and furl back in, but easing the halyard fixed the problem. To cut a long story short, whilst up the mast, I could see that there appeared to be a halyard missing, and the Genoa was in fact hoisted by the spinnaker halyard which had been run through the guide about a foot down from the top of the mast and thence to the top hoisting fitting. But this meant that the halyard was fouling on the larger top furling fitting and was jamming it. So I will need to go right up the mast and run a new halyard for the Genoa.

    I tried going up again late this afternoon, but to be honest chickened out at spreader height as I felt it would be too easy to slip out of the makeshift chair. I'm also a bit unsure what to expect at the top of the mast in terms of blocks, etc., for the halyard to be sent round. From looking through binoculars it would appear there may be a sheave at the front of the mast head and another at the back... The halyards run externally. Would that be correct? The halyard running over the 2 sheaves? I also need to fix the non working anchor light, so 2 jobs in one would be good, and it's one of those double decker type lamps (tricolour above all round white), does anyone know if tools are needed to open them or how they open up?

    Also, looking for recommendations as to which bosun's chair I should buy... something safe and comfortable to work in. Thanks in advance for advice / observations, etc...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Gosport
    Posts
    3,077

    Default Re: Going up the mast (solo) and what to expect at the top...

    The problem with a bosuns chair is it doesn't lift you quite high enough to see the top of the mast.

    I use on of these, but there are lots of variations on the theme.

    http://mastmate.com/

    It means you can stand up above the top of the mast looking and working downwards. Wouldn't surprise me if the previous owner lost the jib halyard so switched to the sp to hoist. Small fishing weight or drill on some fishing line to feed down the mast will help. Short length of bicycle chain also might work.
    Moody 31

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Home UK Midlands / Boat Croatia
    Posts
    21,398

    Default Re: Going up the mast (solo) and what to expect at the top...

    I have a bosun's chair from Force 4 and it seems to work fine. However, my wife winches me up the mast with the main halyard whilst using the spinnaker halyard as a safety line but I've absolutely no idea how I would go up there on my own so you're several steps ahead of me already.

    Richard

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Sevenoaks, Triola at MDL Chatham Marina
    Posts
    1,018

    Default Re: Going up the mast (solo) and what to expect at the top...

    I had to go and replace the batteries on my Tacktick wind instruments right at the very, very top of the mast, single handed, over a lunch break. Check out my tips on the end of this post:

    http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread...21#post6754921

    The TopClimber isn't cheap (eek £300), but, err, its effective at dodging death, so that's a plus to it. If you consider you'll probably pay a man £100 to go up your mast, after 3 trips up the mast you are quids in. I have an additional fall preventer too on a separate line... overkill probably, but better than, err completelykill-ed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Home: Saffron Walden... boatless
    Posts
    2,531

    Default Re: Going up the mast (solo) and what to expect at the top...

    At the risk of being accused of capitalising on the needs of others, I'm selling a brand new Lazilas bosun chair. Just the job.

    ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?526377-Lalizas-Bosun-Chair-for-sale

    Graham. "Scala" now sold. Boatless.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Sevenoaks, Triola at MDL Chatham Marina
    Posts
    1,018

    Default Re: Going up the mast (solo) and what to expect at the top...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scala View Post
    At the risk of being accused of capitalising on the needs of others, I'm selling a brand new Lazilas bosun chair. Just the job.

    ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?526377-Lalizas-Bosun-Chair-for-sale

    Ahh yes, but that would need to come with your services to winch the op up the mast too as he is doing this solo??

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Glasgow
    Posts
    405

    Default Re: Going up the mast (solo) and what to expect at the top...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
    The problem with a bosuns chair is it doesn't lift you quite high enough to see the top of the mast.

    I use on of these, but there are lots of variations on the theme.

    http://mastmate.com/

    It means you can stand up above the top of the mast looking and working downwards. Wouldn't surprise me if the previous owner lost the jib halyard so switched to the sp to hoist. Small fishing weight or drill on some fishing line to feed down the mast will help. Short length of bicycle chain also might work.
    Thanks. Yes, I have looked at a few of the bespoke climbing kits but the price scared me off!
    The halyards don't seem to run inside the mast, so I'm hoping that should make it a bit more straightforward.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Glasgow
    Posts
    405

    Default Re: Going up the mast (solo) and what to expect at the top...

    Quote Originally Posted by MagicalArmchair View Post
    I had to go and replace the batteries on my Tacktick wind instruments right at the very, very top of the mast, single handed, over a lunch break. Check out my tips on the end of this post:

    http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread...21#post6754921

    The TopClimber isn't cheap (eek £300), but, err, its effective at dodging death, so that's a plus to it. If you consider you'll probably pay a man £100 to go up your mast, after 3 trips up the mast you are quids in. I have an additional fall preventer too on a separate line... overkill probably, but better than, err completelykill-ed.
    Yes that sort of thing looks ideal apart from the price right at this moment in time...
    I do wonder if a home brew version using webbing for foot straps could be made up, and a chair for the upper part, prussik knot for each part, and a final one tied off to another halyard or the topping lift as a back up arrester...
    Hmm... I hadn't really given thought to have the need to stand up to get above the mast!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    West Sussex / Hants
    Posts
    29,008

    Default Re: Going up the mast (solo) and what to expect at the top...

    stevie69p,

    I'm not happy with heights either, but at risk of stating the blooming obvious, take care - one fall like that could easily mean a broken back, I'd want a very safe system with a Plan B safety line - can't you get a friend to help from the deck and be a safety assistant ?
    Anderson 22 Owners Association - For info please ask here or PM me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    7,681

    Default Re: Going up the mast (solo) and what to expect at the top...

    If you have a furling Genoa take care that the halyard goes off the top of the genoa at an angle to the forestay not parrallel
    to it.

    The angle prevents the halyard wrapping around the forestay as the furler is turned then jamming it .Do a search on "halyard wrap" for more details .

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